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DevBlog: Have it your way

Anno 1800 will offer builders a wide range of features, from time-honored proven favorites to all new additions to the series. One thing that is unchanged, however, is the ability to sink hundreds of hours into the game, and a big part of that is the ability for the players to set up their very own customized sessions, which has always been a cornerstone of the experience. We know that Anno fans love to be able to tailor the game’s challenges to their own (or their friend’s, of course) specifications and needs. So today, we want to give those veterans and newcomers like the first look at some of the customization options you will get to enjoy in Anno 1800.

Create your own island paradise, or meet a brutal challenge!
We have three basic difficulty levels in Anno 1800, ranging from Normal to Expert; they do not only affect the difficulty of your AI opponents but also include a set of predetermined rules regulating everything from the income you generate to the cost of relocating buildings. While we hope that the Expert setting should pose a challenge for even the most experienced players, we also allow you to tailor your own rule set and to select which (if any) AI characters you want to share your virtual world with. So if you want to create an unrelentingly brutal map with aggressive enemies and sparse resources- be our guest 😉

Similar to some previous Anno games, a dynamic difficulty bar that will give you a better feeling for how big of an impact your rule adjustments will have on the overall challenge.

Let’s start with the settings that will directly affect your game world:

Start World Size – A small archipelago for a quick match or a huge sandbox to play around in? This setting determines the actual size of your session.
Island Difficulty – A pancake will not provide a proper challenge for a true Anno veteran! Harder islands will challenge your city planning with a higher density of mountains, smaller beaches, and rivers.
Island Size – Some players might prefer many small islands for outposts or large-scale landmasses to give their cities enough space to grow.
Raw Materials – You said there isn’t enough copper on your island? A high amount of raw materials will not force you to expand as quickly and will, therefore, make the game easier.
Fertilities – Dictates how much of a factor the various fertilities your island can (not) have.

Next up are the various starting conditions, which can have a big impact on the speed and overall challenge of your game:

Starting ships – Is your flagship enough or would you prefer a small fleet of trading vessels? Or how about a fleet of warships? After all, there is nothing wrong with a good naval rush among friends!
Starting Capital – Money makes the world go round. The more money you have at the start of a game, the easier it is to establish your economy before getting into financial trouble.
Starting Harbor -> Do you want to start with an already settled island (maybe even fully stocked with some starting construction materials), or do you prefer to establish your first Imperial Harbor on an island of your choice?
Revealed Map – Being able to follow the moves of your enemies or friends in multiplayer can speed up things quite a bit.

After setting world and starting conditions, you also have some options to change the game’s rules:

Income – Defines the ratio of how much money your residents generate.
Refund of Construction Costs – If you destroy buildings to make space for your new leisure park area, do you want to get some previously used materials?
Building relocation – Decide whether you want to be allowed to freely move buildings around, or if there should be an attached cost.  
Trading Post Restocking
– Influences how quickly third-party characters will restock their trade goods on offer.
City Incidents – Some people want to see the world burn while others prefer a peaceful building experience without disturbing fires or riots.
Inactive Upkeep – Turning off building upkeep costs will make the game significantly easier.
Quest Frequency – If quests tickle your fancy, you can boost the rate of quests generated by AI opponents or neutral factions for you to undertake.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Anno game without a distinctive cast of characters and the freedom to decide if you would rather compete with the visionary (albeit slightly megalomaniac) architect Gasparov or would prefer for some easier going fellas to join your beauty building extravaganza match. As always, you will be able to choose up to three second-party AI characters as well as neutral factions such as traders or even those pesky pirates. Keep in mind that each character comes with their own personality, which also gives them their own difficulty rating.

And if you really like the world you find yourself in and want to share it with your friends, make sure that you note down the unique match seed code to recreate your experience at any time. You will of course also be able to have the game generate a random seed for you to get the proper feeling of venturing out into the unknown.

With custom game rules being a time-honored tradition of the Anno series, we’d love to hear from you. Do you have a set of standard rules you always go for or do you change the setup based on your current mood? And do you have any great war stories or tips for newcomers to share with the class? Take to the comments to let us know!

20 Comments

  1. thijsatteiltje thijsatteiltje

    Hi,

    will there be an option in the UI controls to disable audio prompts and popup messages? I love playing endless sandbox games and the constant “There are no goods available on one of your trading routes” (and other) audio prompt in 1404 really spoiled the atmosphere.

    This was a feature in the un-official patch for 1440 disable some of these and I even went so far as to unpack some the 1404 .pak files and replace some of the audio with blank files.

    Perhaps, just like loglevels on a computer, there could be VERBOSE, WARNING,DISASTER levels of audio warnings and popups.

  2. CrocNW CrocNW

    Any chance on winter weather? Vulcano?

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  3. AyroV AyroV

    Will we be able to set the map small/medium if we want to play multiplayer with multiple people? Anno 1404 doesn’t allow us to choose map size except huge when we try to play with 4 players.

  4. dAprillion dAprillion

    I like it when I have 2-4 options (easy, med?, hard, insane?) with useful defaults for the main mission / first free games…

    It’s very nice to provide lots of options, as long as we don’t have to understand every possible option before we choose, if the default options will “just work”™…

  5. SirDavidFirst SirDavidFirst

    I love playing from easy to hard, so I have loads of save games with different companies 2205, with 2070 I love the game, but with anno 1800 I just can’t wait for the game to come out next year, going to pre-order. Thank you from me, not much of a gamer at 68 years old, but love Anno games.

  6. Hannover8 Hannover8

    Could the team please look into adding a fifth player to be available? <3

  7. jakubczyk011 jakubczyk011

    Will it be our beloved Jorgensen, and will it be a closed beta for people who bought a pre-order?

  8. olblf olblf

    Hurray!! I love this!!

    I’m a bit of an achievement hunter, so the ability to change the setup of a game session to easier reach a particular achievement sure means alot. Mostly I play very short games in Anno just to reach a particular achievement and then start over again with another one. This was unfortunately lost in 2205, so it makes me happy that 1800 will again ‘support’ short game sessions, so to say.

    I wonder if the achievement system of 1404, where you earned ‘gems’ for every achievement that you later could cash in for new colours or characters, will make a return? I sure hope so, because that is a feature that stills holds 1404 as the best Anno game in my book.

  9. BlueBreath BlueBreath

    So what’s with the “customize other factions button”?

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  10. jm1988gmx jm1988gmx

    sounds great even though there isnt much new things here.
    I really hope thou that the long term motivation doesnt just come from playing over and over again with diffrent settings. what i really liked about anno 2205 was how long i could grow my company in the same session until i unlocked all sectors with their projects, a complete research station, a million inhabitants and finally androids (even thou their were useless at that point). thats the part of the multi session gameplay that i really hope will make a return in anno 1800

  11. Nox_29 Nox_29

    I’m so happy to see this feature return in practically the same way I remembered it from 1404 and 2070.

    Depending on what me and my friend wanted to do, we selected the things we wanted and that’s so much fun. Usually we liked to play casually. In 1404 for example that would just be: biggest map, biggest islands, lots of fertility and recourses, no map reveal, city disasters on, only a flagship, Leif Jorgensen and SET SAIL!

    A question: are there natural disasters like tornadoes etc? If they are here, can we turn it off? I personally never liked it.

    And a suggestion: in older Anno titles, when I found myself in a nice map, I wanted to write down the map seed. But I never really found where you could see the map seed while already playing the game. Maybe you should make it easy in which seed you’re playing. Or even better: make a feature where you can favorite several map seeds. This way you wouldn’t even have to write it down somewhere. You could just press a button that saves this map seed as your favorite (or bookmark, whatever you want to call it). Next time you start a new game you can select random map seed, or you can browse through your favorites.

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